More than 140 attempted terror attacks in Europe in 2016, Europol reports

Europe faced 142 “failed, foiled and completed" across the continent in 29016, according to a new report issued by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Eurpol) last week. The report detailed attempted and successful attacks in 8 EU member states during the past year, with 76 - more than half the total - occurring in the United Kingdom.

Europol cited a number of significant sources of terror, but called Jihadism the “most serious” form, responsible for the majority of casualties and continuing to worsen. 

While only 13 attacks that could be described as Jihadist, Europol noted these were responsible for 135 of the 142 terror fatalities across Europe during 2016.

Some 99 attacks were perpetrated by ethno-nationalist and separatist extremists, Europol said. Left-wing terrorism was on the rise as well, with 27 incidents, mostly in Italy. 76 attacks were attributed to “dissident Republican groups in Northern Ireland.”

Just over 1,000 people were arrested for terror offenses last year, most in connection with Jihadi plots – an increase from 687 in 2015.

Forty percent of attacks utilized explosives, and authorities expressed concern that terrorists with experience gained in the Iraqi and Syrian conflict zones could also use drones, readily available on the consumer market, as weapons platforms.

Terror suspects involved in Jihadi violence have shown an increasingly tech savvy approach to terrorism, employing “mostly low-tech smaller improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and improvised incendiary devices (IIDs) consisting of readily available products.”

Also of concern was the use of terrorists disguised as refugees sent by ISIS to Europe.

European officials quoted in the report expressed an interest in deepening multilateral information sharing and operational capabilities as part of a broader counter-terrorism strategy.

"In the most recent terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market the victims had many nationalities,” said Julian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union. “Terrorists do not respect or recognize borders and in our resolve to defeat them we must draw on a new-found determination to work together, sharing information and expertise. We are stronger together.”

Read Europol's full report here

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